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knocking things out, expanding the pool, or a little bit of both

hlehman's picture

            On Thursday in Professor Grobstein’s class, we discussed science vs. literature and whether we prefer adding things to our “list” or knocking things out when it comes to making sense of the world.  After going around the room, many people said how they felt somewhat torn- enjoy the creative/literary aspect of expanding the pool, but also like that satisfactory feeling when you knock out a possibility.  I decided that even though I consider myself as more of a science person, I enjoy adding to the list because I think that tends to make things a bit more exciting.  Sometimes I feel like knocking out ideas is tedious and even though eliminating a possibility can be very beneficial, I don’t like the idea of failure or that my research did not lead to something new and positive.  I do see the value in eliminating from the pool, but I would prefer to take a less drastic measure and simply put a line through it instead of completely knocking it out.  I am the same way when it comes to my work- often feel uncomfortable erasing things because there is always that possibility that I am going to want or need it in the future. 

            This discussion reminds me of Adaptation because there are many instances when Charlie is excited and on a role with his writing but then Donald interrupts him and causes him to rethink what he is writing and start all over.  When I first watched the film, these scenes really bothered me because I was frustrated for Charlie and wanted him to finish his work without being distracted.  After our discussion, however, I realized that the real reason I was so uncomfortable during those moments in the film was because I don’t like starting over either.  I like adding things and appreciate criticism or facts to help whatever I may be working on, but I don’t like to knock things out and ignore my previous thoughts.  This process worked for Charlie too because in the end he was able to write the story he wanted and was able to include his first instincts that others caused him to second-guess.   



phyllobates's picture

Elimination: a key component to my sanity

There is nothing that I look forward to more than crossing something off my list.  I think part of my love of crossing things out may be a result of conditioning.  In lower school we would always make lists and be rewarded when everything was crossed off.  Some of my fondest lower school memories center around music class and the winter/ spring sings that we would do.  Our music teacher would make a list of all the songs we needed to learn and then highlight part of it off the list as we improved.  Once the list was completely highlighted we would get some kind of treat.  So maybe this accounts for my strong feelings for crossing things out (at least it explains why my planar is completely highlighted)...

This is not to say that I don't embrace the notion of adding new creative ideas to the world.  It is like finding a new color crayon in the crayon box.  With a creative idea you can recolor your world, a tree can be purple and who doesn't love that!   But when it comes to making sense of the world I want to cross things off of my list.  There are too many possibilities and I guess I want answers and some predictability.  I like to know that my plane will not fall out of the sky mid flight due to an undiscovered possibility.  I NEED for some things to be crossed out.


So I guess here is my division:

-literature: i'm okay with adding things to the list


-science: please eliminate eliminate eliminate (and be sure that you cross out the correct thing, I don't want my plane falling out of the sky)

oh and

-work: please let me cross you out too

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